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  • Deni Blues & Roots Festival

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    Took a little driving to get out there, but the DENI BLUES & ROOTS FESTIVAL on Saturday was well worth it. The festival is a two day event that takes place in the same location as the annual Deni Ute Muster, which from what I gather is an Australia fair/truck rally that happens in October.  As such, it was more than appropriate that the festival kicked off with a performance by the Deni Uke Muster, a group of about 30 local musicians playing ukeleles and having a great time.  I can’t not mention a good pun.

    John headlined the first night of the festival and played a killer set.  It was colder in Deniliquin than anywhere else we’ve been, but that didn’t stop fans from braving the weather to watch John perform.  The whole festival was fun from start to finish.

    Set list:

    WILDFIRE
    HALF OF MY HEART
    PROMISES
    I DON’T TRUST MYSELF
    QUEEN OF CALIFORNIA
    GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD
    SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM
    NO SUCH THING
    WHO SAYS
    PAPER DOLL
    DEAR MARIE
    WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE
    WHY GEORGIA
    GRAVITY

    Byron Bay Bluesfest

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    BYRON BAY BLUESFEST was a blast.  I didn’t really expect anything different after all that I’d heard about it, but it was a lot of fun to experience for myself.  I was a little worried it’d be quieter, given that it was a Thursday and the opening day, but that certainly wasn’t an issue.  By the time John went on at 10:15pm the Mojo tent was standing-room only and packed to capacity, with people spilling out the sides and the back of the big top.  The atmosphere was fantastic and John and the band sounded awesome.  They played a wide variety of John’s songs with some classic blues tunes thrown in.  Below you can see the entire set list.

    After a couple of days on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast we’ve traveled a bit inland to Deniliquin to headline the first day of the DENI BLUES & ROOTS EASTER FESTIVAL. It took some driving to get here today, but it was cool seeing some of the Australia countryside from the ground as opposed to 10,000 in the air. Even saw a group of kangaroos along the way (which I learned is called a mob).  Well, I’m 90% sure they were kangaroos. Either way I’m checking it off the list of goals to accomplish while here. Hope to see you tonight in Deniquilin!

    Set from BYRON BAY BLUESFEST:

    QUEEN OF CALIFORNIA
    WILDFIRE
    NO SUCH THING
    WHY GEORGIA
    WAITING ON THE DAY
    WHO SAYS
    GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD
    SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM
    AND IT STONED ME
    HALF OF MY HEART
    I DON’T TRUST MYSELF
    DEAR MARIE
    EDGE OF DESIRE
    WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE
    GRAVITY

    Adelaide Entertainment Center

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    Set list from John’s show at the Adelaide Entertainment Center:

    QUEEN OF CALIFORNIA
    PAPER DOLL
    WHO SAYS
    I DON’T TRUST MYSELF
    SPEAK FOR ME
    HALF OF MY HEART
    GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD
    SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM
    STOP THIS TRAIN
    FREE FALLING
    WILDFIRE
    AND IT STONED ME
    IF I EVER GET AROUND TO LIVING
    WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE
    WHY GEORGIA
    DEAR MARIE
    XO
    GRAVITY

    Meet the Band // Doug Pettibone, Guitarist

    Doug

    An interview given by guitarist Doug Pettibone at the end of the 2013 run.

    PN: You play a lot of instruments every night. What do you play on stage regularly?

    Doug: I bring out about twenty different string instruments when I play with John. One of my hobbies is collecting vintage guitars. When I was ten years old my friend’s dad sold me a 1952 Les Paul for $50, and I’ve been collecting ever since. A lot of collectors keep their instruments in glass cases, but I like to play mine so I bring some out on tour with me. I have about ten electrics, three acoustics, a couple of mandolins, two electric lap steels, two 1920’s Hawaiian acoustic lap steels and a pedal steel. Since our set list changes every night, I get to use all of my guitars.

    Was learning a variety of instruments something you set out to do one day, or did it simply happen organically?

    It was definitely something I set out to do. I noticed that a few of my friends who played guitar started to branch out and learn mandolin and steel. These guys were getting all the calls for work so I decided I needed to do this for survival.

    Which was the toughest instrument to get a grasp of?

    The pedal steel has to be the number one most difficult instrument to play. There is so much going on with your feet, knees, hands and brain. I guess its like trying to fly a helicopter. I love this instrument so much because it has such an expressive vocal quality. I am constantly working on it and learning something new every day.

    How did you get involved with this tour, and what was the experience like?

    I was recommend by John’s producer Don Was who I’d worked with on other records. The experience has been a blast! It’s like going to the ultimate music/guitar camp, because John really encourages us to push our own musical boundaries. I look forward to our sound checks when we try new versions of songs or see how different instruments can affect the arrangement of the song.

    You’re finishing up your own album right? What can you tell me about it?

    My record, “Gone,” is finished! It’s a bunch of songs I wrote in the last year, and I have multi -Grammy award-winning artist Lucinda Williams and guitarist Bill Frisell on a few tracks. You can get it on iTunes and all the other online stores. I hope everyone who reads this will buy it!

    Now that John is on a pause from touring for a few months, what are your plans?

    I’ve been touring solid for ten months so ’m going to enjoy a little down time. I have booked some solo shows around California, and I will do some recording for other artists that should keep me busy until we hit the road in April.

    West Coast Blues n Roots Festival

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    Had to say goodbye to hot and sunny Perth yesterday to travel to warm and sunny Adelaide.  This run got started off on a great foot with the performance at the WEST COAST BLUES N ROOTS FESTIVAL on Sunday evening.  It was impossible to tell that John and the band hadn’t been touring together for the past three months.  The songs and the grooves sounded and felt the exact same as where they left off in December.  Not a moment of discomfort or uncertainty for anyone.  Going to be really exciting to watch it all continue to grow over the next couple of weeks.

    Tonight we’re at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opening the show at 7:00pm.

    Set list from the festival in Fremantle:

    QUEEN OF CALIFORNIA
    WILDFIRE
    NO SUCH THING
    PAPER DOLL
    WHO SAYS
    GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD—→
    SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM
    AND IT STONED ME
    HALF OF MY HEART
    I DON’T TRUST MYSELF
    DEAR MARIE
    AGE OF WORRY
    WAITING ON THE WORLD
    GRAVITY

    Back at It!

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    Good morning (or evening I suppose, depending on which hemisphere you happen to be in) from Western Australia! It took a day of traveling but we’re all finally here in Perth.  And when I say a day, I mean an entire day. With the time change I missed April 9 completely–sorry if that happens to be your birthday, I’ll try to catch the day next year.  The flight was smooth and comfortable and it was good having a couple days to work past the jet lag. It’s also been nice having a few hours to see some of the city and stroll along the water.

    We’re only hours away from WEST COAST BLUES N ROOTS FESTIVAL in nearby Fremantle, and after yesterday’s rehearsal I’m excited to see everyone back on stage again.  Don’t want to say too much, but it was cool to get a peak of some of the things John and the band are putting together for this run.  It’s still early here, but hopefully I’ll see everyone out at the festival this afternoon!

    -PN